MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case CCC
I was stimulated by the October 2 New York Times op ed titled Young, Brilliant and Underfunded to write the following letter to the editor:
The provocative words of Congressman Andy Harris reflects both his experience as an NIH funded investigator and his frustration with the future of the high quality discovery research by our current, and the next, generation of scientists coming of age in the US. Yet, his imperative to emphasize support for younger investigators need not undermine support for senior scientists and their younger colleagues' mentors. Indeed, these very "seniors" provide incredible support and scientific leadership for aspiring investigators. I agree that more funds need to be set aside to encourage the next generation. However, losing this group will block the US out of the field for a generation. But the answer is to reconsider the stranglehold on NIH funding that is a hinder to health research now, and will have a negative impact for decades. Now is the time to increase the budget for NIH supported research.
But the overall message is critical - we need to find ways to improve funding and academic independence of younger investigators and do so more quickly then we currently have funds to do so. Also, we need to improve the research climate for all of our younger investigators.
CASE CCC IN THE NEWS
Burning Away Brain Tumors
ABC12 - Oct 1, 2014
After baby Liam was born, Meghan had major brain surgery – doctors cut into her skull to remove her tumor. A year later, the tumor came back – and Cleveland Clinic surgeons told Meghan about a new option. "I think it's the next, next big thing in brain tumor surgery," said Dr. Gene Barnett, a Cleveland Clinic Neurosurgeon and member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. Instead of cutting, doctors use heat to destroy the tumor. They heat a thin laser probe up to 130 degrees, then insert it through a tiny hole, and essentially burn the tumor. "It works by heating the tissue around it to the point where it cooks, just like you're cooking a hard boiled egg," explained Dr. Barnett.
MEMBER & RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS
Scientists Wield Plant Viruses Against Deadly Human Disease
Case Western Reserve University researchers hope to take a healthy salad up a level by growing a vaccine for an aggressive form of breast cancer in leafy greens.
"In the long run, one could think about administering the vaccine either by eating the salad or making a pill from the plant tissue," said Dr. Nicole Steinmetz, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, and leader of the project. She is working with Case Western Reserve School of Medicine's Ruth Keri, professor of pharmacology; Alan Levine, professor of medicine, and Julian Kim, professor of surgery and Chief, Division of Surgical Oncology, Seidman Cancer Center. They plan to develop and test the vaccine in preclinical studies. The Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization is funding the research with a three-year, $450,000 grant.
Steinmetz also received a $144,000 grant from the American Heart Association for a separate project: developing a transporter to deliver clot-busting drugs to the site of blood clots before they trigger heart attacks or strokes.
In both projects, researchers will manipulate plant viruses the size of nanoparticles to deliver protection from these killer diseases–but in very different ways. [more]
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
The Gene Expression & Genotyping Facility (GEGF) is sponsoring an Affymetrix Workshop focused on their new Mouse Transcriptome Array. The Workshop will be held in the Wolstein Research Building on Wednesday, October 8, and will provide a comprehensive review of this new expression array. The morning session will concentrate on describing what type of information the array can provide and how this product can enhance your research efforts. This session will also discuss sample preparation for the array, sample quantity needed & sample types that will work with this technology.
The afternoon session will provide a more in-depth discussion of software and data analysis. The afternoon session will be much smaller, more hands-o, and will be applicable to investigators using either the Mouse or the Human Transcriptome Array. Improvements have been made to the Transcriptome Analysis Console Software and these will be highlighted.
Finally, Affymetrix is running a promotion on both the Human and the Mouse Transcriptome arrays through December 15. Purchase of the bundled arrays and reagents can results in a 20% savings. Contact the GEGF for specific pricing or a project cost estimate.
2014 Adolescent and Young Adult Cancers Symposium
Registration is open for the first Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer conference hosted by the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center is being held October 30-31 at the Wolstein Research Building. This collaborative symposium is organized by the Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Institute at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, UH Seidman Cancer Center, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute. The focus of this two-day symposium is on advancement of AYA-related cancer research, including exploration of scientific, clinical and psychological considerations in adolescent and young adult cancer patients.
We are excited to feature two key speakers from University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Dr. Henry Koon, Disease Team Leader of Melanoma and Dr. Cheryl Kingsberg, Division Chief Ob/GYN Behavioral Medicine, CWRU Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospitals MacDonald Women's Hospital.
We hope that you will join us this year for our first AYA cancer conference, and we hope that we can help you connect to an international community of researchers and advocates for the AYA cancer community. Register today! Continuing Medical Education credits are available.
Limited Submission Reminder: NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program
The Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) serves to increase access to shared scientific and engineering instruments for research and research training in our Nation's institutions of higher education, and not-for-profit museums, science centers and scientific/engineering research organizations. This program especially seeks to improve the quality and expand the scope of research and research training in science and engineering, by supporting proposals for shared instrumentation that fosters the integration of research and education in research-intensive learning environments. Each MRI proposal may request support for the acquisition (Track 1) or development (Track 2) of a single research instrument for shared inter- and/or intra-organizational use; development efforts that leverage the strengths of private sector partners to build instrument development capacity at MRI submission-eligible organizations are encouraged.
Instrument acquisition or development proposals that request funds from NSF in the range $100,000-$4 million may be accepted from any MRI-eligible organization. Proposals that request funds from NSF less than $100,000 may also be accepted from any MRI-eligible organization for the disciplines of mathematics or social, behavioral and economic sciences and from non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education for all NSF-supported disciplines.
Cost-sharing of precisely 30% of the total project cost is required for PhD-granting institutions of higher education and for non-degree-granting organizations. Non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education are exempt from cost-sharing and cannot include it. National Science Board policy is that voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.
CWRU Internal Deadline: October 10
Tentative External Deadline: January 26, 2015
Support of Case CCC Scientific Program Projects
Proposals are requested from the Case CCC Scientific Programs addressing unique research opportunities, innovative ideas or areas identified as strategically important to the program. Proposals must be for projects that are aligned with the goals described in the Cancer Center Strategic Plan. They may build on the institutional investments in genomics and informatics, drug screening and discovery, promote the development and use of new technologies, foster new collaborations or strengthen existing research teams through the development of new research areas aligned with the scientific program strategic plan. Attention to catchment area related research is preferred. Proposals should be multi-investigator in nature, with inclusion of translational or clinical research projects.
Each program is asked to submit one response to this RFA. Program leaders must be engaged in identifying potential areas or recommending topics and proposals for the program. Proposals must be reviewed by a committee within the program that is convened specifically for this purpose before being submitted to the Cancer Center Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will make the final determination for funding after evaluating proposals and reviews. It is expected that the research projects will lead to nationally competitive grant proposals from multi-investigator teams.
Deadline for Submission to Program Leaders: November 7
Deadline for Submission of priority proposals to Executive Committee: December 15
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Epidemiology Grants
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Epidemiology Grants are expected to provide funds that will support investigators pursuing epidemiological research aimed at improving our understanding of childhood cancer. This grant mechanism is designed to support hypothesis-driven research that focuses on the epidemiology, early detection and prevention of childhood cancer or comparative effectiveness and outcomes research related to detection, prevention and treatment.
Deadline: December 15
Support of Multi-investigator Initiatives in the Case CCC
The Case CCC will provide two modes of support to new research teams that plan to submit large multi-investigator grant applications (usually non-R support mechanisms).
- Administrative support and funding for travel are available to encourage team member meetings and meetings with external advisors.
- Pilot project funding for research teams with an established track record of collaborative research is available to support key research initiatives that are necessary to generate competitive multi-investigator proposals.
Requests are competitive. The research team must demonstrate the active engagement of members, clearly articulate the significance and innovation of the project, and provide a roadmap for acquisition of external funding. Advocacy and support of the specific program leaders interacting with the team is required. Discussion with Ruth Keri, PhD, Associate Director for Basic Research, is strongly encouraged before developing an application.
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